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Wednesday, May 14, 2003




U.S. is among violators of human rights

In his May 9 letter to the editor, "U.N. is quickly losing its credibility," Bob W. St. Sure discussed countries known to be blatant human rights violators that were allowed to sit on the U.N. Human Rights Commission. Yes, it does seem preposterous at first glance. Don't get me wrong: Any violator of human rights, in my heart, is not to be rewarded or "promoted," so to speak.

But the United States also is a violator of human rights. In fact, it is still violating the human rights of the indigenous people of the Hawaiian Islands. In some ways I ask, how can this be? The answer is simple and sad: control. No matter if it is here in the islands or at the United Nations, it is all about control.

I, too, would like to see human rights violators banned from any U.N. committee. I would like to have all nations eligible to sit on the Security Council. Equality is a good thing to want. Hawaiians know this as well as anyone.

Let's get back to the business of enforcing compliance of human rights throughout the world.

Foster Ampong
Lahaina, Maui

Lingle needs aspirin or a really hard head

Regarding the story "Lingle blasts school neglect" (Star-Bulletin, May 7): Governor Lingle must need nightly doses of ibuprofen from banging her head against the wall in dealing with these short-sighted, obtuse legislators entrenched in their own bureaucracy.

I can't believe they're allotting millions to alleged priority projects like a new cafeteria, a new school and a new set of classrooms first, when existing schools are in dire need of fixing.

Running this state into the red by rote should stop being tolerated.

Carol Banks Weber
Lynnwood, Wash.
Former Hawaii resident

Malicious reporting unfair to McCubbin

Your May 8 editorial invites Hamilton McCubbin to explain his departure as CEO of Kamehameha Schools. Perhaps this invitation should have been extended before his public trial, conviction and pillorying in your news story earlier in the week. Your offer suggests a patina of fairness, yet editorial and reporting fairness have already been trampled beyond reasonable redemption.

The problem here is more profound than unfair reporting; it is simply continuing proof of the rule that the population of people eager and willing to steal and destroy a good man's reputation is always equaled or exceeded by the population of reporters eager and willing to elevate half-truths and gossip to the level of substantive facts. You describe these people as informed sources and shield them from consequences of their slander, when in fact the perfect defense for slander is the truth, if in fact it is truth they speak. Hawaiians label such people alamihi. Germans label them Schadenfreude, those who are maliciously pleasured by the destruction of others. They have been handsomely abetted by the Star-Bulletin. Why else do you cast the whiff of stale Wisconsin smoke into the air, if not to suggest fresh fires?

We don't know from behind which curtain McCubbin will retrieve his damaged reputation. What we do know is that we continue to hold Hamilton McCubbin in the same high regard today as we did last week, and in past years.

Robert and Paulette Moore
Pearl City

Judges, lawyers seem to have immunity

I commend columnist Rob Perez for exposing bias and double standards in the disciplinary system for Hawaii's legal professionals (Star-Bulletin, May 4). His articles on this subject have been consistently excellent, and the subjects of his reporting -- particularly the Supreme Court and the State Bar Association -- should be embarrassed about their behavior, especially the eagerness with which they perpetuate the culture of secrecy that protects them.

I urge Perez to take a long look at the case of ex-Judge David L. Fong. Former Star-Bulletin reporter Ian Lind wrote a terrific piece (July 6, 2000) exposing how Fong and his wife profited from high rents paid by hostess bars that were accused of involvement in drug dealing and prostitution. The state Commission on Judicial Conduct and the Office of Disciplinary Conduct have been "investigating" the propriety of Fong's conduct for nearly three years. Is it too soon to say that here's another example of "if you're connected, you're protected"?

David T. Johnson
Associate professor of sociology
University of Hawaii at Manoa

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The Star-Bulletin welcomes letters that are crisp and to the point (150 to 200 words). The Star-Bulletin reserves the right to edit letters for clarity and length. Please direct comments to the issues; personal attacks will not be published. Letters must be signed and include a daytime telephone number.

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